Can the American public trust the IRS?



The IRS claiming that they "lost" more than two years of emails related to targeting tax-exempt groups due to a "computer crash". Some critics are saying that the IRS officials either perjured themselves by previously saying they were reviewing ‘all' the emails OR that they obstructed justice by not handing over ‘all' emails.

STEVE FORBES: Sure there's a cover-up by the IRS. We need to consider what should be done now. I think the Senate needs to call for a special prosecutor to investigate this.

MIKE OZANIAN: Normally, "the dog ate my homework" tale of the IRS would be a cause for headlines in the media about corruption. But for an administration where the president lies as a matter of course, the secretary of state says she is not responsible for the safety at our embassies and the AG is held in contempt, it's just another day.

ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Yes this is proof of a cover-up by a rogue agency. The "lost" Lerner emails, as well as "lost" emails by other IRS staffers, is like the federal crime of the "missing" 18 minutes on the Nixon tapes. At least back then there was a special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, which we need now more than ever for the IRS. This is obstruction of justice. The missing emails cover the critical inception of the targeting, dating from January 2009 to April 2011, when the DOJ was contacting the IRS about criminal probes of these conservative groups, when the IRS was in contact with the FEC over ramping up probes, and when 9 top US senators were pressuring the IRS to torpedo these groups, including Carl Levin, Chuck Schumer and Al Franken. This is about shutting down an opposition party to get a president elected. This is as bad as Watergate. Every federal government agency, especially the IRS, is fully aware of federal recordkeeping laws that mandate the preservation of records-the same demands the IRS makes of taxpayers. It took an order from the Supreme Court to produce the Nixon White House tapes. It will take a court order, and broader subpoenas to every federal department, agency, and office Lerner and her coterie talked to, to get these emails.

RICK UNGAR: Difficult to say if they perjured themselves by saying they were reviewing all emails as that could be interpreted as reviewing all available emails. The whole thing is beginning to stink. There is some evidence that the email backups are erased from tape every six months so tapes can be reused. If this is true, it is almost as bad as it means our government is operating decades behind the times. Either way, I doubt the IRS would buy my saying that I lost my emails when my computer crashed when they are trying to make a case against me so I wouldn't expect that many Americans are going to cut them any breaks with this sort of an excuse-even if it turned out to be true. Bottom line: Anyone who was prepared to be supportive of the IRS prior to this disclosure has left the building -- and that includes me.

JOHN TAMNY: We now officially know the IRS is in cover-up mode. We know this because in the real world we all live in, Internet communications are forever. So true is this that start-ups like SnapChat have gained prominence precisely because so many are scared of writing something that will come back to haunt them down the line. Despite this truth, the IRS claims a "computer crash" has deprived it of two years worth of e-mails? What a joke.

SABRINA SCHAEFFER: The MEDIA's failure to do its job is an implicit acknowledgement of a cover-up. No one believes the claim that the computer "ate my emails." But it doesn't matter because Americans aren't even hearing the story. There was a time when reporters actually asked question and help political operatives keep their jobs. At the end of 2013, I said on this network that one of the biggest stories of the year was the media's complicity in major scandals like Benghazi and the NSA wiretapping. And here again. The fact is former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson laid out in an article what questions SHOULD have been asked to see if there was really some kind of scandal going on here: timeline of the "crash," when and how did they learn the materials were lost? Is there any documentation? Can you pass along emails discussing the crash and the lost data? And on and on. So if anything suggests that a scandal occurred, it's the fact that we're not seeing any mainstream news outlet actually try to find out what happened.

More calls to send more money, equipment to Iraq in midst of the unrest

STEVE FORBES: We can't let the terrorists from ISIS triumph. We don't want a "terrorist central" in Iraq; we saw what happened in Afghanistan with that. This is a situation where leadership is called for. Obama can't blame this one on Bush. President Obama has to make the case to the American people that if we don't do the hard stuff now in Iraq we'll have other 9/11's.

CARRIE SHEFFIELD: This is all too little, too late. If John McCain or Mitt Romney were in office we wouldn't have this disintegration through a premature withdrawal. I think aggressive air strikes could help in addition to assisting them with intelligence and weapons. We cannot let Baghdad fall. We cannot let it Iraq be overrun by al Qaeda or collapse into potentially a genocidal civil war. We cannot allow that region to fester and breed new threats to America. We cannot let Iraq run into the arms of Tehran, a designated state sponsor of terrorism for 30 years.

Maliki has show gross incompetence through failing to bring Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds together. We need new leadership in Iraq to stabilize and be inclusive of all Iraqis. The people of Iraq need to step up and claim their unified country. It's true we cannot prop up a democracy, the people must do the hard work--that's like trying to prop up a family on welfare when they should get off welfare through hard work. But we have been in Germany, Korea and Japan for decades after war, and that has paid enormous dividends for us. We cannot let Iraq fall, it is too important to our strategic interest.

ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Do not send more taxpayer $. It will end up in the hands of terrorists and used against us, and innocents-including Humvees, artillery, and technology. Plus our money is vanishing into pockets. An estimated $8B US reconstruction aid to Iraq has vanished, out of an estimated $61B given. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) conducts audits and has found "anomalies" which include duplicate payments and fictitious contractors. By the fourth quarter of 2010, SIGIR had opened 53 criminal investigations. According to the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated National Priorities Project (NPP), a nonprofit research group that tracks federal spending, the U.S. has spent more than $816 billion on military action in Iraq since 2003; that's enough to provide 4.75 million students Pell Grants of $5,550; equip 4 million households with wind power; hired 65,000 new police officers; supplied 5 million veterans with VA medical care; and paid 100,000 elementary school teachers each year for a decade.

RICK UNGAR: Bottom line is we need to stop thinking about this in terms of Iraq, Syria or whatever and start doing what we always should have done-think of it as Sunnis and Shias. If there is a terrorist group-in Iraq or anywhere else that means the US harm, go get them. Not to support the Iraqi government but to support the US. If that terrorist group is Sunni or Shia, it should not matter. I wouldn't commit one more cent to the defense of the nation of Iraq-but I would spend money destroying anyone who is a part of ISIS no matter where they are located.

JOHN TAMNY: Tragic as this is, we need to wash our hands of Iraq. Right or wrong, the U.S. military gave the Iraqis a chance for freedom at massive cost to the U.S. and its citizens in terms of blood and treasure. Despite this, they gave it away; Iraqi troops trained by the U.S. having laid down their arms against ISIS. The country deserves nothing more from us, whether it be weaponry or the blood of American troops.

MIKE OZANIAN: You need to have a coherent plan before taking action. Obama is disinterested and has no plan. So we should not send money.

US Patent and Trademark office cancels the Washington Redskins trademark registration

STEVE FORBES: The real threat to the Redskins' business and its owner is not a court of law but in the court of public opinion. In the regular courts the Redskins will win this case. The salient question is: does team owner Dan Snyder have the backbone to resist pressure to change the team's name?

MIKE OZANIAN: I cannot speak to the legal aspects of this outside of the NFL, but as far as the Redskins are concerned the impact is negligible.

CARRIE SHEFFIELD: As someone with Native American ancestry, I do think the name is a bit outdated. But I think overturning it this way sets a troubling precedent since I'm not sure what constitutional principle the Redskins owners have violated. If anything, their right to free speech has been violated. The marketplace has signaled to the ownership they should change the name, this is horrible PR for them, but they seem tone deaf. I think the strength of the franchise rests with the strength of the players, and on issue they so far had punted (pun intended!).

RICK UNGAR: The Patent & Trademark office is not a court. However you can be sure that Dan Snyder will appeal their ruling to a court which will have the power to interpret whether the trademark violates the restrictions placed on trademarks.

Under federal law, trademarks that "may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute" cannot be registered.

The question that will come before the courts is whether offended parties have sat on their hands for too long (an equitable argument) and that it would be unreasonable to take away the trademarks at this point in time.

Keep in mind that the revocation of trademarks does not stop the team from using the name "Redskins"-it just means that anyone will be free to produce and sell Redskins merchandise.

As for it being a threat to business-it's only a threat to Snyder's business! The rules on what is required in order to be issued a trademark have been around for a very long time.

SABRINA SCHAEFFER: This puts into sharp relief the problem we've talked about before on this show of faux diversity. We only think we have to be inclusive or diverse if it suits our political ends. This is exactly what we saw with the Mozilla scandal, for instance.

That being said, maybe Dan Snyder there's a lot of marketing and branding companies in Washington who would be willing to test out messages and names and styles to just move on from this issue.


Lots of people nervous about investing in the stock market during the turmoil in Iraq, but our informers have stocks to calm your nerves!

ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Index ETF (VIG)


52-WEEK HIGH: $78.85

52-WEEK LOW: $64.83

MIKE OZANIAN: Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY)


52-WEEK HIGH: $104.14

52-WEEK LOW: $84.91